Having spent plenty of time with the Mate 7 I think I've build quite a good opinion of the device. Huawei's new flagship remains polarizing as it offers some quite positive aspects while carrying some big compromises. Huawei again impressed me with their software implementation of Android - they're delivering extremely innovative and useful features with EmUI 3.0 while still packaging it in an attractive presentation that doesn't compromise the user experience. I really wished more OEMs would follow suite in offering such substantial additions to the OS. The security and privacy features on the Mate 7 really left a mark on me as things such as blocking off select galleries or apps with help of a security code or with ease of the fingerprint sensor really made me wonder why we haven't seen this already years ago as it makes so much sense in a mobile device.

While I've had very little criticism towards their software stack, it's on the hardware where we find the Mate 7's weaknesses. And it's not the build of the phone that I'm talking about. The phone itself is very sturdy and with even though it's wider than the Note 4 for example, it makes up in terms of ease of use due to comfortable edges and a thinner design. Speaking of design - there's nothing to object to the Mate 7. It's a traditional phablet industrial design which tries to differentiate itself with help of small distinctive features such as the lips of the phone or back features like the fingerprint sensor and the camera housing.

Rather than any build quality issues, the Mate 7's weaknesses are primarily centered upon component choices. I understand Huawei wanting to try to achieve vertical integration for their products, but I think it's too early for the HiSilicon SoC to be a viable alternative to solutions from dominant suppliers such as Qualcomm. Even though the 4100mAh battery is large enough to push the device towards the top of the battery charts, it's more due to brute force of the battery capacity itself than due to efficiency of the platform.

Outside of the power and thermal management configuration issues, we see issues with the GPU, NAND and camera performance. I'm convinced the first and the last would have been an non-issue had Huawei made a pass on its in-house SoC, and the NAND performance could have been fixed with a slightly higher investment in a better quality eMMC solution.

I've mentioned that I still haven't done objective tests due to my network limitations, but Huawei's integrated modem was an aspect that many people were looking forward to being investigated. I don't think Huawei delivered anything groundbreaking here - battery performance under mobile connectivity suffers visibly in my subjective usage.

I find myself in a eerily similar situation while writing this as when I was doing the conclusion for Honor 6 review. The Mate 7 is an overall good device with some major drawbacks. It's the price which decides if this is a worthy purchase or not. At 499 and 599€ official price points (and now can be found for down to 450€ for the 16GB version) it's not worth the money. If you spend that much, you might as well get a Note 4 for an additional 150€ and enjoy a device that is better in almost every aspect. 

Here's hoping that Huawei continues to improve as they've again showed that they have the potential. They're on the right track with the ideas, but still stumbling on execution.

Camera and NAND Performance


View All Comments

  • GTRagnarok - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    The only interesting thing to me is the fingerprint scanner. Samsung should get rid of their heart-rate sensor and put one of these scanners in its place. Reply
  • DestroyThaNet - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Andrei, I've been experiencing a significant amount of light bleed whenever I use black backgrounds on my Ascend Mate 7. The problem is located on the left side where the SIM and microSD are located. Have you noticed any similar issues? Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    My unit sports virtually no light bleed - the least I've seen on any LCD screen and why I was also impressed with the blacks of this IPS-Neo screen. Reply
  • DestroyThaNet - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Hmmm…I received another one in the mail today. Both have pretty bad light bleed problems. I'm thinking it's a manufacturing or design problem that happens often. Here they are next to an iPhone showing the same black wallpaper.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Wow that looks bad. My unit is uniformely dark. This unit was handed out by Huawei at the official release so it might not be a representation of full production models. Reply
  • DestroyThaNet - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Dang, how disappointing. Thanks for your input, Andrei. Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - link

    hey man which pone u won ?? i bet iphone :DDD Reply
  • zodiacfml - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Terrible especially considering the cosst of this thing. Reply
  • johnny_boy - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    The Honor 6 is better if you don't need a huge screen and don't mind the plastic housing at significantly cheaper pricing. In my 3 weeks experience with the Honor 6, I too haven't noticed any oerformance issues with flash memory performance. But I still wish they would use some slightly higher quality stuff. Since I don't game, this phone has performed like a beast. 3GB RAM is definitely a new minimum for me, especially as a Firefox with adblock user. Reply
  • sandman74 - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    I would never trust this brand. Too closely aligned with the Chinese government .. and whilst China may be "the factories of the world", I can't help but think of China as a stealthy enemy of the state hell bent on taking over the world !
    As for the phone .. It's a piece of over priced junk with the odd glimmer of innovative software and I think your review concludes that. But sadly they , along with other low price China brands are going to shift millions of android phones due to low prices which even Samsung can't compete with.
    Hopefully the more people become aware of their phones being junk tech, the less they will sell... in any country.

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